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The Environmental Defense Fund website has some myth-busting facts about idling. Did you know idling for ten seconds burns more gas than restarting your car? Or that diesel engines produce more than 40 hazardous air pollutants? And that sitting in a cloud of your own exhaust with the heater on is really lousy for your health?

I've noticed a string of egregious idlers lately. The first was a young woman tapping away at her iPhone in a posh SUV in a shopping center parking lot. Temperatures were mild, so it's not like she was braving the elements or anything; it was just internal combustion for internal combustion's sake, I guess. The following day, I witnessed a pickup truck belching putrid exhaust for at least 20 minutes outside a convenience store. In this case, it was cold out, and a woman was waiting in the truck for her companion in the store, but seriously. Go inside and warm yourself by the spinning hot dogs or something! Then, while staying at a motel out of town, I observed a tractor trailer idling in an empty lot from dusk until the next morning. It was cold and snowy, and my guess was that the truck driver opted to sleep in the truck with the heat on -- spent fuel be damned! -- instead of paying for a motel room. Which is frankly pretty sad, but also alarming if you're not a fan of global warming or particulate matter in the air you breathe.

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Originally posted to Comics on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I can't figure out whether people don't realize (12+ / 0-)

    or don't care.  Some of each I guess.

    Ten seconds, huh?  That suggests shutting off at long lights too.

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:06:28 AM PST

    •  That's a bit harder to justify (4+ / 0-)

      It could take a few seconds to restart your engine. If you're the first car at the light you probably shouldn't turn off your engine. Maybe if it's a really long light and you know the pattern. But if you're a few cars back it might be a good idea.

      What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

      by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:12:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  hybrids do it "naturally" (16+ / 0-)

        it's part of their "in town" advantage.

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:18:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  major mpg hit (6+ / 0-)

          Right you are.  Here in the midwest winters, it takes a bit longer for the engine to come up to temp, and until it does, it won't go into autostop.  Consequently, my mpg in winter will often hit the mid-30s whereas in the summer months it comes in around 50.  My routes are incredibly stable (habit) and the drop has to be due to no autostop at just 3 lights... probably no more than a minute each.

          Whenever I see someone (other than running a diesel) sitting in the running car/suv/etc., it tells me the price of gas is too low... and that alarming swaths of the public are dense as lead.

          •  Yep - was going to say the same thing. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If fuel and all the absolutely amazing effort that goes into recovering, refining, and getting it to market is so underappreciated that people just waste it absent-mindedly, then that's a good indication that it is still far too inexpensive.

            I just laugh off people who complain about fuel prices now - much of the "problem" is directly related to behavior and a lack of discipline.  Keep buying ridiculously wasteful vehicles, driving (or idling) them in a ridiculously wasteful manner, and then whine about how rough the gas prices are.

            A gallon of gasoline can propel a 3000 lb car up a grade at about 60 mph for 25 - 30 miles.  Imagine the effort a person or persons or even a team of animals would have to exert to do anything even close to that.  The energy density of refined hydrocarbons and the work that allows us to do should be treated as one of the most valuable resources on the planet.  Instead we piss it away - as if there is an infinite supply of it.

          •  Jumping in up here to repond to diary info ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The truck that was idling in the parking lot overnight was most likely a refrigeration truck. They need to keep running to keep the cooling unit operating.

            Regarding your comment about winter fuel efficiency, from Scientific American...

            Auto components such as electric motors, engines, transmissions and tires consume more energy at low temperatures, especially during startup. The viscosity of the oil and other fluids increases with decreasing temperature, which means that more work and more fuel is required to overcome friction in the engine, transmission and other drivetrain components. If the outside temperature is significantly below the ambient temperature at which the EPA prescribed tests were conducted and trips are short, the engine¿s coolant system never reaches normal operating temperature and more fuel is utilized. Additionally, the amount of drag between tires and the road is about 20 percent greater at 0 degrees F than it is at 80 degrees F. Operating tires at lower than recommended operating pressure further degrades a vehicle¿s fuel economy, but this is also a problem in warm weather.

            Finally, a vehicle¿s aerodynamic drag is proportional to air density. On a 70-degree-F day, the density of the air is 16 percent lower than on a day with temperatures around 0 degrees F. Although this makes little difference in urban driving, it could account for a highway mileage per gallon reduction of 7 percent on the colder day (including a 1.5 percent allowance for improvement in fuel efficiency at the higher engine load).

            Considering all these factors, the fuel economy during urban trips of less than 10 minutes, in cold weather with snowy road conditions can easily be 50 percent lower than operation of the same vehicle in warm weather with dry roads.

            He also mentions the use of heater blowers and wipers, and idling when stopped to keep the heat running, so his numbers may be a little more extreme than what you experience.

            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

            by kbman on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:51:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  They do it in some cities in Europe. (4+ / 0-)

        In fact, people will motion to you if you don't.

        When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

        by Words In Action on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:32:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They also have lights that tell you they're about (9+ / 0-)

          to change to green which would make it easier to do. Again, a small thing but it could amount to a lot of savings. But I'm sure the neocons will start bitching about "Freedom Stoplights" or some such nonsense if we tried that.

          What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

          by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:36:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've seen some yellow lights with holes , (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            if you watch the other sides yellow , you can see when they are about to get the red .

            Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

            by indycam on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:04:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In the early days of traffic signals... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ontheleftcoast, kurt

              ...the yellows came on for both streets. Simplified wiring, but it also encouraged jackrabbit starts. We probably have a few of these on unimproved installations along the boulevards here in Chicago.

              (I knew I'd get something out of being a traffic engineer for the City, besides a pension...)

              Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

              by JeffW on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:31:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I recall propaganda that the "break even"... (9+ / 0-)

      ...point between idling and restarting was several minutes, even in the face of data out of Europe to the contrary.

      The Carbon Merchants don't care how we use their product. They just want us to use it. Waste is simply greater revenue and profit in the next few reporting quarters for them.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:23:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought that had to do with your starter motor. (0+ / 0-)

        One of the advantages of a hybrid's big battery is that it powers a powerful starter motor that spins the engine at full idle speed.  That's why the hybrid gas engine comes on instantly, without the "starting noise" everyone expects when they turn the key on a conventional engine.  It's during that "starting noise" that you waste fuel, is how I understand it.


    •  Some cars do it automatically (4+ / 0-)

      The last time we were in France, I rented a BMW 320D (diesel) with a manual transmission.

      At the first stop-light, the engine shut down, leading me to think I'd stalled the car.

      Pressing the clutch pedal would cause the engine to start again.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:50:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It seems like a small thing but lots of small (11+ / 0-)

    things add up. Remember the flack Obama got for suggesting folks simply check their tire pressure to save gas? It turns out he was right but he was still hassled for it. Or Jimmy Carter's suggestion of turning down the temperature and wearing a sweater. Millions of gallons of wasted fuel turns into millions of pounds of carbon in the air. Add in the wasted money and I don't get why more folks don't follow these simple bits of advice.

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:09:02 AM PST

  •  One of the largest causes of particulate exhaust (10+ / 0-)

    are diesel trucks. In the old days before batteries were more reliable it was a must to leave the hard to turn over diesel engine on at all times. That is no longer the case.

    Also when any engine is idling it is running at it's least efficient. Meaning more pollution enters the air.

    Some communities have made laws to prevent excessive idling but it isn't being enforced.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:09:19 AM PST

    •  Diesel engines can be converted to run on vegetabl (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      oil.  If I didn't have so many things going on I'd to that myself.  There's an entenman's bakery and several fast food outlets near my house where I could get the raw oil to filter.  But then ... no time.  There's one guy in my neighborhood who does it.

      Can't we just drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub?

      by Rezkalla on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 03:34:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good Diary and this Info is Good to Know. (4+ / 0-)

    I hit almost every red light here in Lexington, KY, and they usually last for about 2-3 minutes before turning back to green.

    I usually shift into park when I catch a red light, but now I'll just turn the car off.

    Have you written your Chained CPI/Social Security Betrayal/Obama is a Caver diary today? 100's already have. What are you waiting for?!

    by kefauver on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:13:46 AM PST

  •  A town near me (7+ / 0-)

    went with Yield Signs instead of Stop Signs a few years ago. I don't know if the reason was to save on gas or not. Think of the fuel that wouldn't be burnt if the country did this, a rolling stop vrs a full stop then take off from a standstill. On dangerous intersections they could keep the Stop Signs. In Ohio the State Dicks will write you up if you do not come to a complete stop, even in the most desolate places...

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:16:43 AM PST

    •  This is a really annoying thing about traffic laws (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, sawgrass727, AoT, Rezkalla, kurt

      They're not really designed for safety but for revenue.  Yield does mean stop and yield to oncoming traffic.  

      I once got a ticket for rolling through a stop sign at 4:00 in the morning.  There was no one on the road but me and the cop, and he was hiding nearby just to catch people rolling through the stop sign.  Of course they always condescendingly tell you to drive safe.  A rolling stop in the middle of nowhere, in the middle the night.  Not being safe?  Whatever dude.

      The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

      by ecostar on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:54:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A) What's wrong with revenue? (0+ / 0-)

        B) Why do you get to break the law without consequences?

        •  Wow. A) What's wrong with being petty? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexasTom, kurt

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:22:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Speed traps? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexasTom, gustynpip, kurt

          You've heard of or seen speed traps, yes?  Like where a posted highway speed is 55 and a local town suddenly drops it to 30...with a police car right at the 30 sign  conveniently catching violators?

          Got enough of them in Florida and some are so bad that the State posts signs warning people to slow down.  Yes, the local towns should have traffic slow down but not's all about revenue.

          Like Ecostar, I got pulled over for "running" a stop sign.  I already knew the stop sign was closely watched by hidden police so I was very careful to stop...and still got pulled over.  

          I'm all for pulling people over who do rolling stops with a barely a glance at the cross street.  

          But I'm sure  I stopped.  I asked how I "ran" the stop sign and the officer said that my front tire didn't come to a full rotational stop.  I pointed out that my old car's clunky manual transmission makes it very hard to shift to first gear while my car is moving and so I found it hard to believe my car was moving.

          She let me go without even a warning.

          From then on, I've watched other cars at various stop signs and rarely, rarely do their wheels come to a full stop.   When the police want to write a ticket, they'll find a reason, real or bogus.   My father used to be traveling salesman and he has stories to tell about being pulled over for bogus violations.

        •  Why not? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, kurt

          I'll sell you a joint too if you want one, want to guess how many other stupid laws I'm breaking?

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 12:58:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        yield does mean yield to oncoming traffic but if there is none you can roll on through. Just like on an on ramp to a highway. So, now that we got that figured out, again, this could save the US a lot of burnt fuel.....

        "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

        by fugwb on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:34:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Synchronized Traffic (and Rail, too) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fugwb, kurt

      I find myself frequently sitting at intersections waiting for a light to turn, and seeing NO cross traffic using the intersection.  Why?  Or seeing one car pull up to a stoplight on a small cross street and causing the main boulevard lights to turn red, causing dozens of cars to stop, idle, and re-accelerate so that one car can cross.  When you think about how much wasted time, wasted gas and unnecessary pollution this causes, it's boggling.

      Why, in this day of networked everything, do the signals at most intersections in my city still depend on magnetic sensors in the road, and that each light is still only controlled by the sensors at that one intersection.  And worse, many are still on timers only.  

      And in one of the most frustrating examples:  Light rail was introduced to this city about 10 years ago, and I welcome it.  But it crosses three very busy streets at grade, with stations in between.  If a train is at any of the stations, the street barriers stay down, and traffic on these streets backs up for a kilometer.  The lights are synced to the barriers so they stay red when the barriers are down, but the barrier controls have no regard for the amount of congestion they cause on the surface street, surely diminishing --if not eliminating-- the air quality benefit granted by the people who have elected to use the train rather than drive.

      My city is home to one of the most premiere technical institutes, and to one of the premiere scientific and robotic research labs, and to one of the biggest civil engineering firms in the US.  We are smart enough and technologically advanced enough to solve the problem of timing lights to allow cross traffic to use gaps in the natural traffic patterns of busier streets.  There is someone clever enough to coordinate the signals across the city, based on sensors on the streets and rails, to minimize the amount of idling at stop lights where cross traffic is absent, to minimize the number of starts and stops necessary to drive across town, and to keep the trains sitting at stations from creating kilometer long lines of idling traffic on all of the city's main thoroughfares that cross its rails.

      Surely we can.  But there is not yet the incentive to do so.


      •  In the (0+ / 0-)

        city I live near to they used to have all of the lights synchronized so if you went exactly the speed limit you could hit greens right through the center of the city. For some damn stupid reason they changed it so you now hit all reds. Assholes.

        "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

        by fugwb on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:25:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Near my place in Sacramento (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fugwb, kurt

        there is a light without a purpose.  There is neither intersection nor crosswalk and the light takes forever.  Furthermore, the line where you're supposed to stop is so close to the light that the signal is practically above your head so you can't see it.  Why is that there?!  

        Just needed to vent.

        Can't we just drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub?

        by Rezkalla on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 03:39:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tips for your sig line!!! (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe the light doesn't even exist. Maybe it's a fig newton of your amalgamation. Next time just drive right through it and keep repeating "you don't exist, you don't exist". Two things may happen. 1. it never appears again to bother you. 2. you run over an old lady and a young cub scout. 3. one of Sacramento's finest pulls you over and plays the drum rhythm to "Wipe Out" on your head with his billy club.  

          "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

          by fugwb on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:05:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Infrastructure engines - like fire engines, (4+ / 0-)

    ambulances and other large diesel vehicles seem to have a policy of not being turned off once they are turned on for the the day: always find them idling for extended periods of time and have simply ASSUMED this is a policy based on the idea that time wasted with re-starting could also set up a tragedy should the thing fail to restart for whatever reason.

    And NO, officer, I am NOT speeding, I am aggressively avoiding idling and saving gas.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:18:22 AM PST

    •  Fire trucks, cement trucks, and (7+ / 0-)

      crane trucks amongst others have a power take off gear in their transmission. The engine must run for this gear to operate as it provides the power to the equipment.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:39:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are laws in California . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, xxdr zombiexx, JeffW, kurt

      As a follow up to the in-use idling airborne toxic control measure (ATCM) adopted on July 22, 2004, the Air Resources Board, on October 20, 2005, approved a regulatory measure to further reduce emissions of toxics and criteria pollutants by limiting idling of new and in-use sleeper berth equipped diesel trucks. The regulation consists of new engine and in-use truck requirements and emission performance requirements for technologies used as alternatives to idling the truck's main engine.

      The new engine requirements require 2008 and newer model year heavy-duty diesel engines to be equipped with a non-programmable engine shutdown system that automatically shuts down the engine after five minutes of idling or optionally meet a stringent oxides of nitrogen idling emission standard. The in-use truck requirements require operators of both in-state and out-of-state registered sleeper berth equipped trucks to manually shut down their engine when idling more than five minutes at any location within California beginning in 2008.
      ARB staff and local air quality officials throughout the state will enforce the idling regulations by monitoring sleeper berths and commercial on and off-road diesel vehicles where they operate. First time violations, idling for greater than five minutes, will receive a minimum civil penalty of $300. Subsequent penalties can be from $1,000 to $10,000. Owners, renters or lessees will be responsible for the penalty.

      Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

      by indycam on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:12:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  tolls (3+ / 0-)

    The lineup of cars waiting to pay a toll is a pet peeve of mine--all cars/trucks need to be equipped with electronic signaling devices (such as e-z pass).  While on this subject--all cars need to have lights atop the hood to indicate if a car phone and/or a seat belt is in use.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:20:39 AM PST

  •  The reason for warming up in cold weather.... (6+ / 0-)

    ....has nothing to do with fuel the fact that a car is modern doesn't make a difference. The reason why the car needs to be warmed up, is because the cold lubricating oil is too viscous to circulate efficiently through the engine. When the oil isn't circulating properly, then increasing the load on the engine by driving the car  will increase the engine wear.

    In the Fox News Christian Nation, public schools won't teach sex education and evolution; instead they'll have an NRA sponsored Shots for Tots: Gunz in Schoolz program.

    by xynz on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:22:20 AM PST

    •  cars used to be warmed up (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigjacbigjacbigjac, cocinero

      because they had carburetors. If you drive while the engine was cold, you risk the engine dieing and then it becomes real hard to restart.  Even with these cars, it was better to drive at lower speeds after starting to warm up the engine than to let it warm up at idle.

      With fuel injection, cars start right away.  No warmup is needed.

      Oil being too viscous is not a valid excuse.  Oil warms up with use of the engine.  

      "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

      by statsone on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:30:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You have to wait for the oil to warm up.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ....before you drive the car.

        When the oil is cold, it doesn't circulate effectively throughout the engine; there is increased friction on the parts of the engine that aren't being oiled properly.

        Putting a much higher load on the engine, by driving the car, will greatly increase the friction on the poorly lubricated engine parts. This will cause the engine to wear out much faster than if you waited until the oil was warm enough to circulate properly.

        In the Fox News Christian Nation, public schools won't teach sex education and evolution; instead they'll have an NRA sponsored Shots for Tots: Gunz in Schoolz program.

        by xynz on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:44:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  See my comment below. nt (0+ / 0-)

          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:47:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I also "warm" the engine before driving. (3+ / 0-)

          I am rather meticulous about car care, as they are quite expensive, and one of those methods of care is warming the engine before driving.

          In addition to providing maximum oil flow, the engine always runs smoother after a few minutes. There is a point where the cold running engine "relaxes" and smooths out - that's when I begin to drive it. I also use full synthetic oil for best engine performance over the life of the car. My engines run like new ones at 150K plus....might put 250K on the two cars I own currently. It's that LAST 125K miles of the life of the car where these habits pay off. Transmission - same thing - mine work like they did new.

          My driving habits more than make up the difference. I get great mileage out of my vehicles, exceeding any EPA estimates even on older engines. I also do all other scheduled maintenance - fluid swaps, tire pressure/proper rotation/alignment, air filters, etc.....

          It's more energy efficient to care for a vehicle and drive it longer than it is to buy new ones before I should have to. I also am as meticulous about buying them as I am about how I use and care for them - Toyotas and Hondas that have been built for many years (Corolla/Camry/Civic/Accord) tend to be my personal favorites as the engineering has been perfected over many years of building and learning - I have never had one fail to start in 20 years, and they give great service.

          And when I do part with these cars, they are very desired for parts, so they get recycled again. When a mechanic looking for an engine or tranny sees what I did to care for it, those component parts are worth a lot of money. I took my old Toyota pickup and sold it as a parts truck because it took a "hit and run" to the driver's side door area - not worth much on insurance but worth quite a bit to a skilled mechanic doing rebuilds. Once that mechanic heard that engine and knew how I cared for it, it was an easy sell. He ended up taking most of the parts out of that truck and put it into others - by the time he was done with it there wasn't much left but the frame. There are a number of "living" Toyotas around here with those donor parts. An older Toyota or Honda engine with full synthetic oil run it's whole life the way I do is worth quite a bit of money, which means they won't go to waste.

          Now if we can figure out how to get that reliability in something that doesn't use oil, then we are getting somewhere! But for now, that bit of extra fuel used at startup pays itself back over the long run, in longer life, overall mileage when driven, and even a potential donor engine later.

          "Because only three percent of you read books - and only fifteen percent of you read newspapers - but right now there is a whole and entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube." - Howard Beale

          by Audible Nectar on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:42:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

          As long as you have oil pressure, you're OK to go. If you don't have an OP gauge, 15-20 seconds is plenty to get pressure in a modern car.

      •  Back in the late seventies, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I had a 1968 ford pickup truck,
        and someone had installed a hand choke knob,
        right there on the dashboard.

        On a cold morning in Hays, Kansas,
        where I lived at the time,
        I would pull out the choke knob,
        all the way out,
        start the engine,
        rev it up for ten seconds,
        put it in gear,
        (it was a three speed standard)
        and nearly dump the clutch,
        and head down the road.

        No long warm-up at all.

        As I drove down the road,
        I gradually pushed the choke knob in,
        a little at a time.

        I wish car engines were operated by the driver,
        not totally automatic.

        I know what ignition timing is,
        I know what fuel/air mixture is.

        I got an 'A' in auto mechanic vo-tech school.


        I agree,
        no idling really necessary,
        just choke it, if it's cold out.

        And cars choke automatically.

    •  Do you only use straight 40 weight oil? (4+ / 0-)

      They have oil with duplicate viscosities out now. Try a 5w-30 in winter. The oil works right away.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:41:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe that you are wrong. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, RF, Horace Boothroyd III
      because the cold lubricating oil is too viscous to circulate efficiently through the engine.
      As soon as the engine develops oil pressure you are good to go.
    •  If the pour point of the oil is lower (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      than the outside temperature , the viscosity of the oil will not be a problem . If on the other hand the pour point is higher than the outside temperature , you should not be starting the engine at all until the oil temperature is brought up above the pour point .

      Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

      by indycam on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:28:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It Depends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      While technically true, it depends on various factors including outside temperature and type of oil.

      Fairbanks in January? Sure. Except you probably have a block heater if you live up there.

      Ohio in March? Probably not so much.

      You certainly don't need to warm the engine to the extent that a lot of people seem to think.

      And unless you're driving a pre-2006 Audi, which has an oil temperature gauge, you don't really know what your oil temperature is.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:58:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I use synthetic oil (0+ / 0-)

        for my work truck in the mountains of MT and WY. A lot of idling comes from people not wanting to (or not knowing how to) use an ice scraper.

        That and comfort. I have a 5 year-old pair of driving gloves that I consider essential.

        I warm my truck up for about 2 minutes at 10 below.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 04:32:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  some of those idling diesels (9+ / 0-)

    depend on the tractor to power refers in the trailer.  It's not just for "creature comforts" in the cab.  You may be underestimating the "fuel consciousness" of long-haul drivers . . . most tend to "weigh their costs" pretty carefully . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:24:04 AM PST

  •  How to do it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, JeffW, WI Deadhead, kurt

    --Gasoline engines--as soon as the cold engine will run smoothly, drive it easy until it starts to warm, then drive normally.

    --Diesel engines--I don't know where this started, but we see diesel pick up and big truck drivers idling for long times, and idling a diesel engine is bad for it.  It is better to run the engine under load or shut it off.  When idling, the engine isn't running hot enough to burn cleanly.  (I've trained at two diesel engine factories.)  One thing about very cold weather...a cold engine won't start unless it is fitted with ether injection, and that is hard on the engine, or an electric engine heater if a plug-in is available.  Idling in frigid weather might be necessary or it won't restart.  Again, as soon as the engine will run smoothly, drive away.  In very hot weather the drivers keep the engine running for air conditioning while they rest (as required by law).  Some truck stops are supplying cool air ducted into the cab to permit the truck engine to be stopped.

    --Cold weather--An electric engine heater plugged in for a few hours before the start will have the engine (gasoline or diesel) start easy, get the cabin warm very soon, and puke out the least in dirty exhaust.  A cold engine must run rich, and that means dirty exhaust.  Get the engine heater installed.

  •  My wife and I were on vacation two years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as we tried to sleep,
    we noticed the sound,
    and the gas fume smell,
    of an old pickup truck,
    that was idling outside the window of our room,
    for five hours.

    I dozed off,
    but the smell of fumes,
    (some old cars did not burn their gas efficiently,
    and a lot of it went out the tailpipe unburned)
    kept my wife awake.

    It was a miserable experience.

    Thanks for the diary.

    I'm in the middle of reading a book,
    The Long Emergency,
    by James Howard Kunstler,
    and he points out that within 20 years,
    we're going to have to change our lifestyle a lot.

    I hope he's wrong,
    but if the day comes
    when the gas stations are often out of gas,
    and charge $25 per gallon,
    (that price is not from the book,
    just me extrapolating)
    then how much idling will anyone do?

    Thanks again for the diary.

    I wrote a diary yesterday,
    and mentioned this:  

    My explanation of all mineral deposits,
    including oil and natural gas,
    was endorsed by a real geologist,
    in the comment thread.

    Check it out.

  •  People are stupid and we are doomed. (5+ / 0-)

    And it seems the bigger the car, the more they idle.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:35:39 AM PST

  •  It's a pet peeve of mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    especially since my neighbor across the street starts his truck at 5am every morning and finally leaves for work around 7am.

    "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!"

    by mapman on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:41:52 AM PST

  •  Ack! Enough with the diesel bashing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Whatithink, Calamity Jean

    I'm getting REALLY tired with all the ignorant diesel slams.

    We should be encouraging diesel use, not discouraging it.

    Diesels to have a dirty history, especially with regards to particulates, but it needs to be taken in context, and that context is:

    a) fuel

    Today's diesel fuel is much cleaner than  that of years ago, but...even more to the point, diesels can burn a variety of variety bio-fuels.  You've seen the stories about people getting  dirty oil from local restaurants: it's not quite true that diesels can run on any kind of oil, but they're a hell of a lot more flexible than Otto cycle engines.

    And -- when running on bio-fuel, a whole lot cleaner than running on petroleum-based diesel.  

    As it stands, all jet aircraft run on what is essentially diesel fuel, as do Army tanks, heavy machinery, etc.  We are not going to eliminate the need for diesel fuel, but we can build an infrastructure to provide sustainable carbon-neutral fuels.

    b) efficiency

    There's a reason Europeans buy so many diesels.  Diesel engines get better mileage and diesel fuel (with an asterisk to weasel word around the possibility of different performance for alternative fuels) has about 30% more energy per gallon than gasoline.  There are several small diesels available in Europe that deliver more than 80mpg.

    This is where the talk about pollutants gets tricky.

    If you measure pollutants in parts per million, then you need to factor in how much fuel you burn.

    An 80mpg  car that puts out twice the pollution on a ppm basis than a 35mpg car will actually emit fewer pollutants.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:41:58 AM PST

  •  I drive a Prius... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, cocinero, JeffW

    It doesn't idle.

    'Guns don't kill people, video games do - paraphrased from Lamar Alexander (Sen-R-TN)'

    by RichM on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:43:46 AM PST

  •  Tractor story just stupid. Prob spent more on gas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    than he would have spent on a motel.  at almost $4/gallon not hard to burn through $100 worth of gas running the engine for 8-10 hours

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:47:36 AM PST

    •  A lot of them are not allowed to stop at motels. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He carries his bed with him.

      He may sleep for two hours here, four hours here, and another two hours there.

      There are laws, but truckers teach each other how to write up their log books to show legal time in bunk without having to take it.


      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:07:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "He" probably spent nothing on fuel, the company (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, BB Jam Fan, Cixelsyd, oldmanriver

      "he" works for did.  But they won't pay for a motel.  And if "he" does, there goes the money he just spent all day driving for.  But yeah.  He's just stupid.  Such a liberal attitude.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:25:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I never said the individual was stupid (0+ / 0-)

        I know the reason he did what he did was that the company wouldn't pay for the motel.  The fact that the company is unwilling to pay for a hotel and he ends up spending all night burning through more gas than the hotel room would have cost is a sign of corporate stupidity.  

        I probably should have clarified what I thought was stupid about the circumstance.

        The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

        by ecostar on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:14:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can beat all your examples (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    my next door neighbor warms up his car in the garage...but he does have the door open.   It is never that cold here. Another neighbor's family warm up all their least 3.  I'm printing the cartoon and putting on their front doors.

    Hey don't I have a right not to be shot in a movie theater. The 2nd amendment is not the only right.

    by regis on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:11:01 AM PST

  •  The polluters tore down a ranch in my neighborhood (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, entrelac, Horace Boothroyd III

    and built an energy guzzling McMansion in the middle of winter.  They didn't supply a trailer for their very likely illegal alien slaves to keep warm, so the poor souls idled cars just to get warm.  

    I didn't know what to do.  I didn't have the heart to report the situation to the police, knowing that if the cops did actually abide by the law for a change, the workers could get deported, or worse, forgotten in one of those horrible jails, or if they were legals, freeze.

    What makes me sick are drive through windows that force everyone in line to idle.  Then there are the SUV drivers waiting to pick up their kids at cash strapped schools that no longer provide buses, idling right next to the school in their air conditioned cars...

    The frame of the apathetic and selfish woman saying, "Well, I guess they'll never know the joy of giving asthma to a small child," struck a chord with me, thinking of those parents mindlessly spewing smog at their own children's schools.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:19:37 AM PST

  •  I know I'll be out of sync here, but I find the (5+ / 0-)

    judgmental attitude of this diary disheartening.  You don't have a clue about the circumstances of any one of those situations, yet you make assumptions about every one of them and jump to conclusions.  Your conclusions might indeed be correct; then again, they might be way off.

    For example, perhaps the woman texting had started her car, then received a text that her husband was in a bad accident and was being brought to the hospital and somehow the thought of turning her car off just didn't enter her mind.  Perhaps the woman sitting for 20 minutes in an idling car was sick and feeling too weak and ill to go into the store.  Perhaps (and most likely) the trucker didn't receive reimbursement for his motel stays and paying for a motel each night would have resulted in his 2 weeks away from home being a loss rather than a profit for him.

    You're preaching a good preach and fighting a good fight.  I just think avoiding judging others when you don't know their circumstances is always a good thing to try.  Rethugs are incapable of it, but liberals are generally pretty good at it.

    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

    by gustynpip on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:21:12 AM PST

    •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio, gustynpip, kurt

      Not long ago, my dad sat in an idling vehicle while my mother and I got his medication and some other medical supplies needed. We were on the way home from the oncology center and it was about 20 degrees outside. And a 6' tall man down to 135 lbs due to cancer gets cold really quickly and was way too weak to walk into the store.

      Be careful when you are being judgmental. You have no idea what people are really dealing with.

    •  Agreed! Kind of judgemental! (0+ / 0-)

      Because really not all people who are going somewhere actually need to take those trips, either! No one knows their reasons, but they're all contributing to the assured deaths of billions of people in the future, and possibly the entire human race!

      Don't judge. Just ban all cars. Like yesterday. Then completely switch over to renewable energy. The transition will be tough but at least we'll stand a chance in the future.

  •  Boy, I'd love to show this toon to Town Meeting. (0+ / 0-)

    How can I?  May I?

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:29:48 AM PST

  •  had to comment on this one (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Whatithink, kurt

    There are other reasons for letting you car idle for a time that are not the selfish ones that have been stated my 94 Miata here in Michigan, if it's below freezing, the heat and moisture from just getting into the car makes the inside of the windshield go into insta freeze with a nice layer of ice on the inside of the, I could stop every hundred yards or so to scrape the ice off impeding traffic and putting myself or others in danger, or I can let the thing warm up for 10 minutes until it is safe to drive...I choose's worth a little gas...

  •  One quip (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That trucker, was almost assuredly an independent contractor and was already making barely enough to cover costs on the truck and coupled with mandatory rest patterns, the costs of renting a motel room are cost prohibitive.

    Now that said, they have newer truck heaters which can run without idling the engine, but they are still cost prohibitive and only operate in newer model trucks.

    -Cousin is along haul trucker

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:43:46 AM PST

  •  Idling to protect the environment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In this wonderful Green state (Illinois), we have mandatory emission testing on our cars (those newer models with a diagnostic port anyway).  This is basically a front to allow politicians to give friends and family state jobs.

    The last time I went for this, I had to wait in line for about 45 minutes along with probably 30+ other cars.  During this time, we are told that we cannot shut off our engines, so all of us were belching pollutants into the air the whole time.

    I'm not sure how this helps keep our air clean, but I can't renew my vehicle license tags without performing this ritual every two years!

  •   (0+ / 0-)

    I'll knock American consumerism as much as the next guy, but when it comes to letting your car idle the Japanese are champions.  Gas is very expensive there, but everyone lets their car idle as they wait for someone in the store, smoke a cigarette, you name it.  Just one of those peculiarities you see when you live in other lands.

  •  Thanks for this cartoon (0+ / 0-)

    I walk to work and walk my dog around town everyday and often the exhaust is simply appalling. My city is in a mountain valley where we frequently get temperature inversions in the winter that trap the foul air.  It gets so thick it's like a dense, toxic fog over the whole town. It smells like I'm living at an oil refinery. It's disgusting and poisonous and no one seems to give a shit. Why would you when you barely ever set foot outside of air-conditioned cars and buildings? It's unbelievable to me. People are supposed to live in these cities. It's the mountain west not industrial China. Aren't we all here for the fresh mountain air!?

    I'm sick of the excuses and I'm certain nearly everyone warms up their cars not for safety or engine wear purposes but simply because they don't want to be cold. Put a fucking hat and gloves on if you're cold.  And you don't get to complain about gas prices when you choose to live in the suburbs and commute every day.  You don't get to complain about gas prices when you have a remote starter so you can warm up your car without leaving the building (these are all the rage with my coworkers.)  You do not need a 4,000 pound machine to move your 200 pounds of self and stuff everywhere, everyday.  That's fucking insane and it's lazy and it's stupid.  It's literally killing us and it's bankrupting the country at the same time.

    Okay, rant over.  I'll now go back to quietly sucking up my neighbor's exhaust and resisting the urge to drive  unoccupied, idling vehicles around the block and leaving them.  Thanks for letting me vent my frustration.

  •  how about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    large blocks of cars idling at a red light, then moving slowly to the next red light two blocks yonder, repeat, repeat... In my town they use the lights to prevent (as opposed to promoting) traffic flow

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 12:04:04 PM PST

  •  It's all I can do to stop myself when ... (0+ / 0-)

    someone pulls up to the can/paper/cardboard recycling center and then runs their engine while they unload their recyclables and sorts them into the various bins.

    I mean, WTF?

    You care so much about the environment that you're recycling, but you simultaneously care so little that you're wasting gas and polluting the atmosphere unnecessarily?

    Think, people, think!

  •  But gas prices are so high! (0+ / 0-)

    I can barely afford to fill the tank of my ginormous SUV.  

    People who complain about the price of gas annoy me.  Gas is actually pretty cheap.  If it was so expensive we'd all be driving fuel effecient or hybrid cars.  That fact that the roads are still packed with SUVs and people idle without reason is strong evidence gas prices aren't really that high.

    Can't we take the subsidies from the oil and coal companies and give them to wind and solar companies instead?  I feel that would do a lot for climate change all by itself.

    Can't we just drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub?

    by Rezkalla on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 03:28:41 PM PST

  •  newt gingrich of all people (0+ / 0-)

    Newt Gingrich, of all people, is involved with a company called IdleAire that puts HVAC and power hookups into truck stops so that long distance truckers don't have to idle their engines overnight to stay comfortable. I don't know how well it is doing these days, but he was hired as a spokesman back in '99.

  •  Really, this is the problem with cars? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm going to just assume that most of a car's use is for actually driving, and that idling, while useless and polluting, is really just a fraction of the pollution that comes a car.

    We need to reduce carbon emissions by 90% in a decade or two or the results will be catastrophic. Do people realize that we won't get to 90% reduction by not idling and changing our lightbulbs? Or is the thought of such radical changes so incomprehensible that people are just going to pretend that changing their tires and taking shorter showers will be enough?

    In short: driving needs to completely stop, soon, if we want to deal with global warming at all. That would be necessary, but not sufficient. Yes, idling will go away with that. But that's the least of our worries.

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